I spend a lot of time on here talking about who I am in the context of infertility, loss, endometriosis, chronic pain, a floundering career and various other issues. I appreciate this space, because I feel like it’s the one place where I can be as honest as I want to be about all of that.
But today, I’m doing something else. I’m taking some time to think about who I am independently of all of those things – as well as past pain and personal hangups –independently of any thing I would call an “issue.”
It’s so easy to identify with the hard things, and sometimes so hard to remember what’s left. So I just sat down and started writing a list, with general, timid terms at first, but they became a bit more confident and specific as the list progressed. Just for kicks, here it is:
So who is Eli, apart from all of this?
She loves to laugh.
She finds people interesting.
She can be thoughtful.
She can be fun.
She’s good with words.
She doesn’t like conflict, but she enjoys a good debate (as long as nobody’s getting hurt or being super obnoxious).
She feels like culture is mostly crazy, and she wants to talk some sense into it.
She longs for truth.
She loves stories.
She loves to sing, mostly in private – although for a couple of years she sang lead in a heavy metal band because some boys at the high school where she worked as an administrator were looking for a lead singer for their band and asked her (possibly as a joke). She shocked them by saying yes. She always wore heels and a grey pantsuit when performing. The band achieved legend status.
She is the friend who will pay full price (even though she’s currently out of a job) to join you, your daughter, your unstable, recently-bereaved mother, and your alcoholic grandmother on a 2-week cruise when you have been ditched at the altar two weeks before the wedding and can’t get a refund on your honeymoon. She will go on that trip and sit in the middle of all that crazy with you. She will sneak away with you to pound tequila shots. If you eat 3 desserts, so will she. She will even sing cruise lounge karaoke when you ask her to.
Frivolous beauty brings her joy. And makes her cry.
Mistreatment of the weak makes her angry. Like mama grizzly angry.
Sometimes she writes letters to celebrities she thinks are screwing up their lives and offers to let them come stay with her for a couple weeks. She thinks she could help. They never write back.
She likes nice things. And she likes to give nice things away.
She likes being around small children. She likes the purity of their interactions with the world, having not yet learned to stifle and mask everything they think and feel. She feels that children and very old people are lucky in that sense. They get to say exactly what they think.
Sometimes, she can be wise.
Sometimes, she can be funny.
Sometimes, she knows exactly what to say or do in a tough situation.
She believes people matter. She feels that especially young girls don’t know that they matter nearly enough.
She will stand in the path of a violent, heavily drugged man on the street (even though she’s very much expecting to be hit) because she doesn’t want to live in a city where people can be brutally attacked by a stranger in broad daylight and have their attacker walk away unencumbered while fifty spectators step aside to let him pass. She, in her heels, slacks and fluffy sweater, will be the one person to calmly stand in his way and tell him that he does not get to run away but must stay here and deal with what he has done. And for some strange reason, he will listen to her.
She’ll buy a homeless woman lunch because she really wants to buy her flowers but thinks it’s a jerk move to give a hungry person flowers and not also lunch.
She has little respect for people she thinks are phony, no matter what position they hold.
She just generally has a pretty low tolerance for BS.
She’s attracted to honesty, even if it’s honesty about unattractive things.
She’s attracted to humility.
She’s always been a sucker for a boy with a guitar, and she eventually married one.
She loves, loves, loves that she gets to see her quiet husband be crazy, goofy, brilliant, irreverent, and just straight up weird in a way that no one else on the planet ever does.
She is reborn every time she feels the warmth of the sun on her skin.
She likes the laugh lines she’s getting, but is not too fond of the sun spots.
Beautiful, clean spaces are balm to her soul.
She roofed houses to pay for college.
Every once in a while, she will embark on a crazy adventure that takes a great deal of courage. She hasn’t done this in a little while, but it’s in her.
She left a good chunk of her heart with a poor family in Argentina who loves her better than most people can probably love anybody.
She can pretty much quote entire Disney cartoons as well as chapters of the Bible.
She does a bang-on southern belle accent.
She thinks she looks good naked, if she’s very honest.
She’s willing to change when she learns she’s been wrong, even if it’s hard.
I kind of like her.
Who are you apart from this? I’d love to know.